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Mia Smoak: Green Arrow Jr

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About KM's audition...

-- On whether she knew that she would be playing Olicity's daughter, KM: "So I knew before I started shooting. But when I initially auditioned, they, of course, did not reveal it to the people who were going up for casting. They [gave me] dummy sides and I believe it was a couple of scenes of a rookie cop or something, so I knew basically nothing. Then after I was cast, I get a phone call from Beth Schwartz, the showrunner, and she said, 'Oh yeah, congrats on joining the show! By the way, everything you know is a lie. You’re Oliver and Felicity’s kid – so congrats and have fun! Thanks, I’ll talk to you soon.' And I was like, 'Wait, wait, wait! Hold on! Let’s press rewind - excuse me?' ... Immediately, my first thought was what a responsibility this is. I’ve seen the power of not only the Arrow fandom, but how much they love Olicity. How much this relationship is beloved by them and how passionate they are and how many opinions they have about it – so I know how important this is going to be for the fans if this is done right. Then I proceeded to watch all six seasons of the show and do as much research on the comic wikis and the show wikis and everything that I possibly could. Beth had said to me that they wanted her to be the perfect blend of the two of them – to be physically everything Oliver Queen and then intellectually everything Felicity Smoak, so I had my work cut out for me."

-- On whether she knew that she would be playing Olicity's daughter from the outset, KM: "Not when I auditioned. They were fake sides and all of that for a character that was a rookie cop who kinda resented vigilantes and had a dark past that she was trying to work through. That was basically the character description. And they had some scenes that they created. Um, and after I booked the part, I started doing research on, you know, what training rookie cops go through and things like this, to kinda get in that mindset. And then I get a call from Beth Schwartz, who's the showrunner, and she goes, 'Hey, congratulations, we're so happy to have you on the show,' um, 'By the way, everything you know is a lie, you're Oliver and Felicity's daughter, okay, have fun.' I'm going, 'Wai- wai- wait, hold on, I'm who now?' Because I knew immediately, you know, through all of the Malec press and things that have happened, how beloved that ship is and how much people care about Olicity and how much they've kind of built up that relationship over seven years. I'm going, 'I have to be the product of that?' So I knew what a responsibility it was. And then I proceeded to watch seven seasons of the show - or six at the time - seasons of the show, just to do as much research as I could, because I respect Stephen and Emily so much for what they built, and I just want to do justice by that."

-- KM: "I have not done the salmon ladder, but let me tell you, I had a little bit of a heart attack when the showrunner called me, because I didn't know I was auditioning for his daughter. And then when they called me and said, 'Hey, we want you to have all of the intellect of your mother Felicity and then all of the physicality of Stephen Amell, Green Arrow,' I go, "Okay, so how long do I have before I have to do the salmon ladder?' Because I'm fit, I'm in shape from Shadowhunters, and I know how to fight from that, but that's a whole other level."

-- KM: "You know, when I first auditioned, I didn't know I was auditioning to play their child. It was just supposed to be, you know, a rookie cop with a few episode arc. And then I get a call from the showrunner saying, 'oh, by the way, you're Olicity's child.' And I went, 'Huuhh? Can you say that one more time?' So I proceeded to watch the entire show. But I give the biggest credit to all of them on set, and the crew as well, because they welcomed me with open arms. I was the new kid on the block. I'm coming in, trying to pick up this legacy they've created and do justice to these characters that they've spent seven years - and this relationship that they've spent seven years building. And they've done it so well and that's why people respond to it so much. But the writers have really taken great care in crafting this character in such a lovely way."

-- KM: "This year, in particular, has been quite the rollercoaster for another reason as well. It has brought the next chapter, the next puzzle, and the next family into my life: The CW's Arrow. It has been a process full of surprises from the start. My audition for this show came about a week after the Shadowhunters cancellation news, so needless to say, I was still getting my bearings. Despite all that, when this fell in my lap, I was immediately intrigued. The sides, the pages an actor uses to audition, were for the role of a rookie cop with a dark past and a propensity for sass — even toward the formidable vigilantes she encountered. ... When I was cast, I immediately started research on the type of training and education police officers receive when I got a call from Beth Schwartz, our showrunner and resident superhero, who told me that this character was merely a front for auditions and that I was instead (SPOILER) Mia Smoak, the daughter of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak. I was speechless. I had been witness to the power of Olicity due to the popularity of Malec and knew how beloved they are to the Arrow viewers. As daunted as I was by the responsibility of this endeavor, I was determined to take it on as creatively as I could, taking elements of both characters and blending them into a person who honored the relationship that Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, and the writers of the show have spent so many years developing."

-- KM: "It was very intimidating at first, especially because when I first auditioned, I didn't know who this character was. There were sides for a different character. It was a completely different thing. So when I was cast, I thought I was cast as a rookie cop that was going to interact with all these characters somehow. So I was researching, you know, how cops train and what they do and what their education is like. And then I get a call from Beth Schwartz, who's our showrunner, and she says, 'Hey, by the way, congrats, we're so happy to have you. By the way, everything you know is a lie. You're Oliver and Felicity's daughter. Goodbye!" Wai-, wai-, wai-, wai-, wait! Wait. I have so many questions. Back up. What's my name? What's going on? And so it was a whole process of learning what this character would be, what her back story was and - and how she fit into this world, especially being 20 years in the future. Filling in that 20-year gap of what happened, and how did Star City get here. It was a lot. But, you know, the writers have been so wonderful in filling me in and keeping me posted and kind of keeping me in the loop as to how things are changing. It's been so wonderful. I, um - I did have a moment when I walked into the Arrow Bunker for the first time. The first time I shot in there was during Arrow's 150th episode. And I walked in and I had a moment where I went, 'ooh, this is the Bunker,' cuz I watched the entire series to prep for this. Given that, you know, Emily and Stephen have put so much into their characters and their relationship being the product of that, I felt that I had to mine as much as I could out of it. Yeah."

-- KM: "So my role [of Mia Smoak] is a surprise to me just as much as anyone else. Um, when I first auditioned, I had no idea that I was auditioning for the role of Oliver and Felicity's daughter. Total surprise to me. But, honestly, it's been the greatest journey to take the best parts of both of the characters and weave them into her story. And, you know, last season we got to see Mia really in her element and got to know her a bit and her past. And now this season she has to be on a team for the first time. And being raised by Felicity in isolation, being trained by Nyssa al Ghul, who's an assassin... she doesn't play well with others. And, uh, having to learn how to operate on a team and listen to other people and do all of that, it's sort of creates a new scenario and puts her out of her element in many ways."

-- KM: "When I auditioned, it was for a character that interacted with Green Arrow and Wild Dog, who was a rookie cop - who, you know, was a rookie cop who's very by the rules but has a dark past - or something, you know, whatever they say to keep it serious. So once I got the role, I started doing research on, okay, so I'm in the SCPD, so what is that all about, and what training to cops go through, and what does that happen and, you know, have in store? And then I get a call from Beth Schwartz, who's our showrunner. She says, 'Hey, congratulations! I'm so happy that you're on the show. We're excited to have you. By the way, everything you know is a lie. You're Oliver and Felicity's daughter. Okay, thanks. Bye!' Wait, wait, wait, hold on. Slow down. Let me breathe first and form English words to come out of my mouth. Um, what? I was so floored, because I knew this character had a potential to stay on the show, but I didn't know in this capacity. And having been on Shadowhunters for years and with Malec being such like a huge ship, Olicity was always there in every essence with it. And so I knew the power of the Olicity fandom and I knew how much people attached to that - that ship and to those two characters and everything. And I knew I had my work cut out for me. But I didn't even know her name for a long time. Like, I had no idea what her name was. The first episode I did, they only called her Blackstar. But, at that point, I thought her name was Maya. And then there was a whole different backstory - different than we had for episode 12 - moving forward. And they - as they developed the show, they kept changing things and honing in who she was really going to be. And it turned out so beautifully in the end."

-- KM: "When I first auditioned, I didn't know I was auditioning for his daughter. Um, and once I found that out, I went back and watched the entire series. Because, not only is he such an iconic character, but Felicity Smoak is another iconic character."

-- KM: “I didn’t know I was playing – I didn’t know I was auditioning for the Olicity baby. I didn’t know my character was going to be Oliver and Felicity’s child. I had no idea. I was auditioning for a rookie cop that was just kinda adjacent to the story. And then I get a call from the showrunner saying, ‘Hey, we’re so happy to have you on the show. Congratulations. By the way, you’re Oliver and Felicity’s kid. Congratulations Okay. Great.’ I’m going, ‘I’m sorry, what? What did I just sign up for?’ This is insane. ‘Cause I knew – I’d seen, obviously, you know, the internet explodes with Olicity content. And Stephen and Emily have built up these characters so much and given them such backstory and depth and nuance that it’s a lot of responsibility to take on. And I knew I had my work cut out for me, which is why I watched six seasons, at the time, of the show. ‘Cause I wanted to pull as many… traits and nuances and – (Gets cut off by MR giving her a compliment).”

-- KM: “The sides were dummy sides, so it was a made-up character just for the audition. ... It was, like, a rookie cop who had a dark past and a bit of a dry sense of humor... I was like, ‘Oh. I’ll get to do something different. Something more structured. I’ll get to learn what cops go through.’”

-- KM: "So, it was very interesting, because I had just found out that Shadowhunters had been cancelled. So I was sort of in the mourning process for that, as well as having fun auditioning again. And Arrow was maybe my second audition back from, uh, you know, not being able to audition for anything really... And so I was just getting into it and starting to have fun, really diving into things, and I get this audition. And David Rapaport, who's the casting director, I've known him for a long time, he's really incredible. I sent it over and they're like, 'look, we've been looking for this character for a while, she's this, you know, badass rookie cop who has a dark past, but really has a lot of spunk and attitude, and we really think, you know, we want to find somebody really special, because she's going to have an arc on the show and maybe, you know, have a future there.' I said, 'okay, great, well, I've been playing a superhero, now let me go into the world of Arrow and play a cop.' It's very different and interesting. So I go in and I read the scenes with Beth and some of the showrunners. And, you know, we're sitting there and we have a lovely little conversation. Um, I was sick as well, because I'd just come back from a comic con in Australia and had lost my voice... So I had no voice really and I was trying to do this audition and, you know, we played with the scenes and had a lot of fun. And then I leave. And then a couple weeks later, I find that I'm cast in it and I've gotten the part. Like, great, awesome, rookie cop, let me start doing research about, you know, the training that cops go through and the kind of education they have and just so I know the mindset and the purview and, you know, talking to my uncle, who's a state trooper, and trying to, like, get all of this information. Then I get a call from Beth Schwartz... She calls and she goes, 'hey, Kat, so nice to meet you, congratulations, we're so happy to have you on the show, by the way, everything you know is a lie, she's not Jessie (or whatever it was), she's not a rookie cop, we don't really know what her name's going to be yet, we don't know a lot about her, but we just wanted to let you know that you're Oliver and Felicity's kid.' (Laughs) I'm going, 'wait, hold on, I'm what now?' ... (Interviewer interjects that SA and EBR "have spent so much time building these characters and they're so beloved"...) ... Exactly." 

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